The single most important activity you can do to minimise the risk of spreading disease, yet hand hygiene audits undertaken within healthcare, indicated that healthcare workers do not decontaminate their hands often enough and their technique is often poor.
Intrinsic Training offer our advice and guidance visits to support you in ensuring good practice is in place and being used. We would complete infection control training and hand hygiene audits to demonstrate how robust the hand hygiene practice is on site.
Hand Hygiene MUST Take Place:
- At the start of the shift.
- On entering/leaving any clinical/healthcare setting.
- Ahead of contact with susceptible areas on patients, e.g. wounds, burns, intravascular insertion sites.
- Prior to starting invasive procedures, i.e. where natural defences against infection are breached.
- In advance of handling food or medicines.
- After hands have been contaminated, e.g. contact with body fluids, soiled linen or equipment.
- Having removed gloves, as hands may be contaminated on their removal and the skin will have chemical residue from accelerators used during manufacture of gloves.
- Following use of the toilet or assisting patients with toileting or hygiene needs.
Before You Start:
- Keep nails short, clean and natural.
- Nail extensions and nail varnish must not be worn as they harbour micro-organisms and deter effective hand washing.
In the Clinical Setting
- Be bare below the elbows: remove hand and wrist jewellery, watches and wear short sleeves.
Hands Must be Washed with Soap and Water When:
- Visibly soiled.
- Completed use and the removal of gloves.
- When finishing the care of a patient with sickness and diarrhoea.
- Completing contact with a patient requiring source isolation precautions or their environment
Hand Sanitisers Offer a Highly Effective Practical Alternative to Soap and Water. Hand sanitisers can be used if:
- Your hands are visibly clean.
- You have not had contact with blood or body fluids.
- Had no contact with a patient requiring source isolation.
To maximise hand hygiene disinfect your hands with a hand sanitiser, put a measured dose of foam in your palm and then following the six steps of hand hygiene until your hands are dry. In 2004, the national ‘clean your hands campaign’ stated that hand sanitiser must be made available at ‘point of care’ in all primary and secondary care settings.
N.B. Hand sanitisers are not effective against C.difficile, so it is essential that staff wash their hands with soap and water if they have been in contact with a patient either confirmed or suspected as having C.difficile infection.
Caring for Your Hands
- Always ensure your hands are dried properly.
- Use hand cream regularly.
How to Wash Wands Using the Six Steps of Hand Hygiene:
The area where the five moments of hand hygiene must be considered is the patient zone.
The Five Moments Apply Whenever the Patient Zone is Entered:
- The patient zone is an area in the immediate vicinity of the patient where care is provided.
- In any area where care provided. The patient zone is put in place when the patient is assigned to, or resides in a designated area where care is provided.
- When an area has been dedicated to a patient, the patient zone will exist-even if the patient is not there and will only cease to exist once the area has been vacated and cleaned.
- Equipment should be considered part of the patient zone once it has been used at the point of care as equipment will become colonised with the flora of the patient and may remain colonised until decontaminated that is used in the patient zone.
Hand hygiene – the single most important activity you can do to minimise the risk of spreading disease.
For further information please refer to www.npsa.nhs.uk/cleanyourhands